23 Oct 2012

Today Marriage Equality welcomed news that both Castlebar Town Council and Louth County Council passed motions in support of civil marriage for same sex couples. The councils join a growing number of other councils across Ireland including Dublin, Cork and Waterford City Councils, as well as South Dublin and Fingal County Councils. Motions of support have also been successfully passed in Belfast City Council, as well as Newry and Mourne, Dungannon-South Tyrone, Moyle, Down, Omagh and Magherafelt District Councils in Northern Ireland.

"This is a wonderful step by Castlebar Town Council and Louth County Council to raise awareness of this important issue at a local level. We'd like to thank all councillors involved for their initiative, and our supporters in Castlebar and across Louth who spoke to their councillors over the last few months about raising the issue," said Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith. "Marriage equality is not just a national issue, it's a local one. It's about respecting and protecting loving couples and families who are part of our communities and treating them as equal. That is why putting the issue on the agenda at local level is so important."

Drogheda-based Anthony Kinahan, co-founder of Marriage Equality Louth - a regional group campaigning for marriage equality - said their group was delighted that the motion passed: "We can finally say that we are 'Louth and Proud'. Today's motion of support from Louth County Council reflects that the people of Louth stand for equality and we will not accept prejudice and discrimination in our county. We hope this sends a strong message to all elected representatives in Louth that marriage equality is the will of the constituency. We really appreciate the strong support we received from all our members who made their voices heard. Let's keep up the hard work to make marriage equality a reality."

Last week also saw former President Mary McAleese stating her support for marriage equality, in an interview with Gay Byrne as part of his Meaning of Life series. Mrs McAleese said she had "no problem" with the issue of marriage equality, and that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were "as entitled to live their lives on their own terms as I do as a heterosexual." This weekend, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore re-iterated his support, saying "I believe gay marriage is an issue whose time has come".

Local authorities across Ireland resumed their sessions in September. During the summer, councillors from city and county councils around Ireland were in contact with Marriage Equality about plans to bring their own motions of support forward in the coming months.
Brendan Fay, Drogheda-born film maker and founder of the U.S. based 'Civil Marriage Trail Project' which brings couples across Canadian borders for civil marriages said "Today I am heartened and proud of the vote by the Louth Co Council in support of marriage equality to extend dignity to same sex couples. I thank each leader for their "yes" to our families. When my spouse Tom and I were married in July 2003 and went home to Drogheda for our honeymoon, we were cheered and warmly welcomed by the people of Drogheda. With today's historic vote, Co Louth says yes to equality for all couples, for all families. I pray, work and look forward to the day when Ireland joins the many other nations that have already extended equal marriage rights to same sex couples. The day is not far off."
"We are delighted at the response we've received from councils around the country, and with the recent support from former President Mary McAleese and the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. We will continue to build on our work to deliver marriage equality in Ireland with the support of ordinary people across Ireland who want to change Ireland for the better, to make it a fairer place for all families," added Ms Griffith. "In the coming weeks, we look forward to seeing a dramatic rise in the number of local authorities voicing their support for marriage equality, and sending a powerful message from their communities to the Government that same sex couples, our families and our children deserve equality. With 73% popular support, including TDs, government ministers and local authorities, the time for marriage equality is now."